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The album Strangers is the latest transcendent release by Sussex born RISE (aka Jo Beth Young). A sweeping ballet of spiritual bliss, galvanized by progressive rock sounds and gothic persuasions all tumble freely from this latest long-player. Lovingly pronounced and fruitful in its construction, the album breathes nine-tracks which sees RISE acts as the siren summoning audiences to submit helplessly to her beautiful, signature sound.
Strangers opens with the haunting “Dark Cloud” (included below), the voice of RISE becomes immediately engrossing and hypnotic. Surrounded by lush strings and lonesome piano, building in intensity as the pace quickens with the theme. Shifting into “Temples”, a minimalist turn after the choral sections subside. It as if Leonard Cohen is resurrected within the female form equipped with the voice of an angel he captured in his journey. Whereas the title track “Strangers” displays the result of the Celtic influence from the seclusion of the artist on Ireland’s west coast. A heartbreaking atmosphere is created in a painful plea of love and lyrics aching with passion-
“Your hurt is always welcome here.
Oh fields of yellow disappear.”
There is an engaging pop sensibility which, at times rears it’s head, in “Cry Back Moon” RISE becomes more translucent, not as vulnerable on the previous tracks while keeping the same momentum pushing forward. The guitars of Peter Yates (Fields Of Nephilim) creep into proceedings at times to add their own raw statement. At the midpoint “Rabbit Eyes”, the shortest track on the collection, is a track intertwined with a new wave air, hard to pinpoint genres is an enlightening experience here, but the creative genius of her lyrics is front and centre as it is throughout. Though the single “Radio Silence” (included below) is a slice of alternative rock brilliance, starting out with an organic rhythm that switches direction into a collision between electric and acoustic instruments as RISE is in full hypnotic mode.
Though the elements of progressive musings are prevalent within Strangers it remains unbound to that structure, instead, taking unexpected turns such as on “Sky Sailing”. Here RISE takes on a dreamlike journey, an adult escapism from the loneliness of the world. The mammoth closing “The Old Sewing Woman’s Song”, takes listeners on a journey across melodic piano keys, to a dimension inhabited by RISE’s firing passions. A fairytale wrapped in social commentary, a culmination of the direction in which the album is travelling- “Through the chasm, Can you just be alone.”
One part Kate Bush, one part Siouxsie Sioux, and wholly a talent of her own creation, RISE is an artist who possesses prowess in her fearlessness. Regardless of comparisons for the use of understanding, Strangers is an extremely worthwhile listen, compounding the fact music does not simply need to rely on basic drum and guitar structures to become enjoyable.
1 Dark Cloud
4 Cry Back Moon
5 Burnt Offerings
6 Rabbit Eyes
7 Radio Silence
8 Sky Sailing
9 The Old Sewing Woman’s Song
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